Another preseason game, another loss for the Wolves, this time to the Raptors in Toronto. This one felt a bit more competitive, as the Wolves offense was somewhat more effective, but once again defensively they were unable to slow down the Raptors attack.
The big story in this game was the play of Kyle Lowry, who has been on fire for the Raps this preseason. He took it to a new level tonight, putting 40 on the Wolves on 13-18 from the field in 28 minutes. All three of Lorenzo Brown, Tyus Jones, and Andre Miller took a try at guarding him, and they all failed.
Because I'm short of time and patience tonight, I'm gonna bullet point this M'Fer.
- Andrew Wiggins only played the first half of this one, but played his best ball of the preseason, looking aggressive and in control, scoring 21 points on 6-10 from the field, making his 2 threes, getting a couple of dunks, and 8 FTAs. He was much more engaged tonight than he has been; whether that's because he was in his hometown or some other reason, ti was good to see.
- On the flip side, Karl-Anthony Towns was much less involved than he has been. He just didn't get the ball much, in part due to his own passivity, and wound up with 7 and 6 on 2-5 from the field. He had a brief spurt of energy early in the 3rd quarter, but other than that was pretty invisible.
- Miller and Tayshaun Prince got 2nd half run, and each did some things that remind you they know how to play. Miller remains the best choice to back up Ricky Rubio, as his smarts and ability to play from the post make him a useful player.
- It was another frustrating night for Zach LaVine, who went 3-10 from the field and had several drives repelled near the rim in addition to his usual array of jumpers. The team intermittently tried to get him going, but it just hasn't happened so far. He and especially Shabazz Muhammad can get into situations where all they see is the basket, and wind up taking some brutally contested shots.
- Nemanja Bjelica made 4 threes and scored 12 points, and once again generally looked smart and competent out there. There are times when you can tell he's still feeling out what he can do and what he can't at this level, but it's also clear he's one of the top players they have available.
- Perhaps it's due to my general lack of faith in either pure shooting guard option, but I'm coming around to being intrigued by a bigger lineup that includes Wiggins at the two and shooters at the forward spots. Spreads the floor a bit and allows Wiggins to work on a smaller player, which often leads to free throws for him. They ran such a lineup during their late 2nd quarter run (Brown, Wiggins, Rudez, Bjelica, Payne), and it led to some free throws and threes.